Since it’s May 28 and all the Euro 2008 rosters have been finalized, let’s take a look at Italy’s biggest rivals from Group C. It may be called the “Group of Death”, but I am talking of course about France. Coach Raymond Domenech had already made a “Pre-selection” list of 30 players some weeks ago, eventually cutting down the group to the required 23 imposed by UEFA. Much like World Cup 2006 (which saw the surprise call-ups of Franck Ribéry and Pascal Chimbonda) there were a few surprises in the list, in particular regarding the absentees.
For example, Mickaël Landreau and Djibril Cissé had extensively featured on Les Bleus‘s roster since the World Cup but instead, the French coach chose to privilege and reward the recent form of Steve Mandanda (keeper for Marseille) and Bafetimbi Gomis (striker for St. Etienne). Les Verts‘s forward had surprised everyone this Tuesday, by scoring the two victory goals in France’s friendly encounter vs. Ecuador (one better than the other, the second of which a spectacular scissor-kick). Cissé must be really fuming though, because he hasn’t played in a major tournament since World Cup 2002 (he was suspended in 2004 and injured in 2006).
In defense, the biggest surprise comes from the absence of Julien Escudé, a pillar of FC Sevilla’s and France’s backline in recent years (it seems however that the French center-back “re-awakened” his hernia (pubalgia) problems on Tuesday and was thus excluded for health/fitness reasons), as well as that of for Philippe Mexès (considered by many as one of Serie A’s best defenders this year). The latter just further demonstrates my theory that Domenech has an absolute phobia for anything coming from Italy, biggest case in point being David Trezeguet‘s (20 goals in Serie A this season, one goal behind topscorer Del Piero) absence even from the “Pre-Selection” list. One really has to wonder how on Earth Sebastien Frey didn’t get the cut.
Finally, Jérémy Toulalan and Lassana Diarra were preferred over Mathieu Flamini and Alou Diarra (Flamini just signed for AC Milan… you see how proving my theory just gets easier and easier?), while Hatem Ben Arfa was discarded due to his limited use in Lyon’s line-up this year. French sports newspaper L’Équipe suggests that by choosing 4 main strikers (Henry, Anelka, Benzema, Gomis) in his roster, Raymond Domenech is determined to keep utilizing his tested 4-4-2 formation for the SwissAustria tournament.
Here’s the full list:
|Nº13||Patrice Evra||Man Utd|
|Nº19||Willy Sagnol||Bayern Munich|
|Nº22||Franck Ribéry||Bayern Munich|
|Nº18||Bafétimbi Gomis||St. Etienne|
Tags: Bafétimbi Gomis, Claude Makelele, Eric Abidal, Euro 2008, Florent Malouda, France, Franck Ribéry, François Clerc, Grégory Coupet, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Jérémy Toulalan, Karim Benzema, Lassana Diarra, Lilian Thuram, Nicolas Anelka, Patrice Evra, Patrick Vieira, Raymond Domenech, Samir Nasri, Sebastien Frey, Sébastien Squillaci, Sidney Govou, Steve Mandanda, Thierry Henry, William Gallas, Willy Sagnol
Posted in Euro 2008 |